A place where Minnesota's design community can blow its collective mind about creative expression in every medium from websites to landscapes, chocolate to bicycles.

AIGA-MN Portfolio 1 on 1

Posted: April 12th, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, local twin cities | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Last weekend I had the pleasure of again volunteering to review student portfolios at AIGA‘s Portfolio 1 on 1. I met with seven designers and as always enjoyed the wide variety of work and presentation skill generated in part by the different schools represented. For the most part the students I met seemed happy, confident and prepared to start their professional adventure. Perhaps what I dig most is that we share a field that can somehow find a place for them all despite (or perhaps because of) their variety.

I’ve listed them below (in the order I met with them) with links to their websites but need to give an extra shout out to Carly Wright; who not only had the initiative to dust off an old letter press in the basement at CVA but engages in the classy, old-school tradition of sending thank you cards. So I now have the cool collector’s item shown above. (Look for me on Antiques Road Show in 30 years when I’m old and she’s famous). Best of luck gang!

Joanna Wishard – Art Institutes International Minnesota
Katie Wolff -  University of Wisconsin, Stout
Cary Wright – College of Visual Art
Kirstin Wulff - Mankato State
Natalie Wynings – University of Minnesota
Jenny Zanatta – University of Minnesota
Jonathan Sollie – University of Wisconsin, Stout


Artisan Activist Poster Show

Posted: March 21st, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, local twin cities, posters | Tags: , , | Comments Off

April is going to be a postery month. Three weeks after Artcrank 2011 the Artisan Activist show will open to benefit the Audubon Society’s Mississippi project. The show opens April 22, 2011 at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis (7-10 p.m.) and will feature posters from 56 artists, designers and photographers. I’ve tried to compile a list of artists with links so you can get a preview of their work. The list includes the usual suspects (so you know the show is going to be incredible) but I’ll bet there are a few names you are not yet familiar with so it’s worth clicking through. Hope to see you at the show along with the very talented:

Kristian Bjornard
Jacey Braband

Genie Castro
Viet Do
David Dresbach
Eric Drommerhausen
Bill Ferenc
Dale Flattum
Carson Giblette
Alex Griendling
Erik A. Hamline
Margaret Hanson
Kevin Hayes
Jade Hoyer
Gregory Hubacek
Amy Jo
Craig Johnson
J. Zacharay Keenan
Ben Levitz
Katherine Lamm
Selina Larsen
Michelle Lee
Jason Lindke
Sara Lintner
Jason Loeffler
Justin Martinez
Alex Mekos
Sam Michaels
April Mueller
Chad Olson
Meg Olson
Travis Olson
Jeff Orluck
Sarah Osborn
Chelsey Paul
Andy Powell
Aaron Purmort
John Reichel
Lucas Richards
Jesse Ross
Natalie Schaefer
Eric Schlauch
Suzanne Schllissel
Chris Strouth
Peter Skwiot Smith
Kendra Sundvall
Aleksandra Till
Emma Trithart
Lisa Troutman
Anne Ulku
Tony Venne
Jessica Vollendorf
Nonnie Wong
Todd Zerger

To the best of my knowledge this is the complete list. If I’ve missed anyone or linked to the wrong site I hope you’ll let me know.

Updated 03.29.2011

Proper Print Signing

Posted: March 19th, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, local twin cities, posters, resources | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Despite my excellent introduction to print making at the capable hands of Doug Minkler and Wayne Thiebaud college was a long time ago and I’ve been struggling to remember the accepted standards for numbering and signing a limited edition set of prints. It’s not something people ask about at parties nor is it something that comes up in the course of the interactive design that’s dominated the last ten years of my career so my brain seems to have filed it accordingly. But careers change and I’ve been trying to orchestrate my return to more general design and to print making so I figured I’d better refresh my memory. Enter the interwebs. Faster than I could dig out my old school books I turned up a great explanation that is thorough but concise. In short the edition goes on the left, title in the middle and signature on the right. But, take a quick look at the article on About.com for the nuances and then sharpen your pencil to identify those Trial Prints (TP), Artists Proofs (AP) and limited edition prints I look forward to seeing at the upcoming Artcrank, Artisan Activist and Poster Offensive shows.

The Illusionist – Classic Animation

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: illustration, local twin cities, video | Tags: , | Comments Off

Computer generated animation has come a long way but there’s still something about old-school, hand rendered, animation that takes me back to my earliest movie-going days. Having partially nurtured a love for drawing I can’t help but gape at the mind boggling effort and skill required to create a feature length animated film. If, like me, you grew up when Disney was better known for Bambi than for Bieber then take a look at the trailer for The Illusionist. If you like what you see you’re in luck. The Illusionist is currently playing in Minneapolis at the Riverview Theater. Granted it’s showing at 4:00 p.m. but admission is only 2 bucks. So, call in sick, gather some loose change from around the house and go pretend you’re a little kid with imagination gears that mesh perfectly at 24 frames per second.

If St Nick Can Switch To Santa So Can We

Posted: February 8th, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: local twin cities, opinion | Tags: | Comments Off

I am now taking resumes for a replacement patron saint for our city. West Coast experience a plus. Dabblers in single digits need not apply.


Posted: January 12th, 2011 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, events, local twin cities, posters | Tags: , , | Comments Off

BrainstormOverload is delighted to be amongst the forty outstanding artists just announced for ARTCRANK Minneapolis. Show opening is April, 2 2011 at Shelter Studio. Time to crank the sketch book into overdrive.

2&21 CollectiveAaron PumortAdam TurmanAesthetic ApparatusAllan PetersAmy JoAngel BombAnne UlkuBjorn ChristiansonBrian Hartley SagoBryan DunnClinton LugertCourtney Billadeau • David Dresbach • Derrick Emory AllenDWITTEvan NaganJoanne Grobe • Joe Hasbro • Jordan A. Smith & Jared A. May • Karl MadcharoKelly MunsonLaura Brown • LovelyMpls • Maranatha WilsonMegan RademacherMettle VeloMilton UnPaper BicycleRobert PflaumRyan CarlsonSara LintnerSpencer HaughSteven JockischStudio On FireTerrence PayneTim Kramer •  Todd ZergerVadim GershmanZara Gonzalez Hoang

Check out ARTCRANK’S Flickr pool of past shows.

Also check out the Sheehan Photography blog for an ongoing, daily featuring of ARTCRANK participants.

Your Good Fortune

Posted: December 6th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: design, local twin cities, output | Tags: , , | Comments Off

The RedBlackBrown Collective 2011 screen printed calendar is on sale now. This is our third annual, hand-made, limited edition calendar so we can reasonably call it a tradition. Once again we’ve proven a heady mixture of six designers and 12 fortune cookies is a powder keg of creative possibility. The calendar is featured on notcot.org, materialicio.us and benign objects so we’re hopeful this year’s edition of 100 will sell out as quickly as last year’s. Visit the RedBlackBrown shop to order and for additional photos including the designs by Todd Zerger Bill Burns, Jessica Hall Burns, Peet Fetsch, Zara Gonzalez Hoang and Colleen Meyer.  This year I designed the covers and the months of February and July shown below.

Walter’s in the Hood

Posted: December 1st, 2010 | Author: Cindy | Filed under: events, input, landscape architecture, local twin cities, urban planning | Comments Off

Photo: Heidi Schumann for the New York Times

Back in May of 2009, I posted about landscape architect Walter Hood, his work on LaFayette Square in Oakland, California, and musings on my own hopes for as relevant a career as his.

I’m happy to share that as part of the Next Generation of Parks lecture series Walter is in our hood. The former chair of the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning program at the University of California, Berkeley, Hood is thought-provoking in word and deed. If this recent article is any indication of what he may describe as 21st Century Parks, we’re in for a great event. I highly recommend the article, and would venture to say the lecture is mandatory for those interested in our public realm.

From Dan Macsai’s article, “…This is public space as Hood believes it should be: multitasking, respectful of the land, rooted in — and watered by — the community. “Think about the history of civilization,” Hood tells me, as if I’m one of his students at UC Berkeley. ‘The agora, the piazza, the theater, the street, the Colosseum — we define ourselves in the public realm. And in America, our public realm is sad. We have to be told how to act.” He deepens his voice. “Sit here, look there, understand this, don’t walk here, don’t do that. It’s crazy.’”

Lecture is at 7 p.m. tomorrow, December 2nd at the Walker Art Center Cinema. It’s free thanks to the co-presenters Minneapolis Park Foundation, College of Design, and Walker Art Center. Get there early as I suspect the cinema to fill as it did for the High Line lecture. We hope to see you there!

No Coast Craft-O-Rama

Posted: December 1st, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, local twin cities, posters | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Artists have been starving since long before the recession and this is your chance to help. This weekend (Dec. 3-4) the No Coast Craft-O-Rama returns to Lake Street to bail you out of your gift giving quandary. Every dollar you spend at this spectacular, cosmopolitan event held at the Midtown Global Market will stimulate the local economy, benefit talented local artists and impress friends and family who were dreading another bit of lead-based-plastic-disaster imported from the land of cheep labor at great expense to the environment. Don’t wait for hope and change – go get it and celebrate a life well designed, well crafted and well lived.

Poster by Too Many Suitors.

Workplace vs. Workspace

Posted: November 10th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: architecture, interiors, local twin cities | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Today two magazines found themselves in ironic juxtaposition on my desk. Together they reflect the seismic shift happening in the creative professions and a question we’ve been pondering for years. What kind of environment best inspires creative endeavor?

The Sept/Oct issue of Architecture MN (You can pick up a copy at the AIA offices in International Market Square.) pursues one answer to this question by featuring several beautiful, local workplaces of the super-size variety. Two advertising agencies; Carmichael Lynch and Modern Climate, and two architecture firms; Cuningham Group and Ellerbe Becket show what can be done by a professional with a substantial budget to house an army of creative talent.

The cover of the November issue of Dwell on the other hand boldly proclaims a glorification of the live/work option. Of course buying a home like those featured in California, Ontario and Japan might cost as much as renovating a Minneapolis agency but both strategies can be achieved on the relative cheep so the exercise is really to explore the differences in the two directions.

Simple day-to-day choices compound to take us in unexpected directions over the long-term. Will media conglomerates get bigger and bigger until they are the heartless but efficient equivalent of industrial agriculture? Will a vast population of nomadic, independent contractors coalesce into the much predicted 1099 culture? I suspect the human tendency to push at the extremes combined with a Darwinian expectation that no niche goes unfilled will cause both options to come true. The only question is where do you do your best work – fancy agency, humble home office or someplace in the middle? We’re volunteering the term “micro-studio” for that middle ground and hope to share the creation of ours in future posts.


Carmichael Lynch by MS&R (navigate through “portfolio” to “offices”)
Modern Climate by 20 Below Studio (project not featured and the site is challenging)
Cuningham Group by Cuningham Group (project not featured but their work for Hunt Adkins is)
Ellerbe Becket by Ellerbe Becket.